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What is the Law of Adverse Possession in Wisconsin?

Attorney Thomas B. Burton explains what the concept of adverse possession is in real property law and explains how it works in Wisconsin.

Transcript of Video: What is the Law of Adverse Possession in Wisconsin?

Today's topic is adverse possession in

the state of Wisconsin now what is

adverse possession adverse possession is

when you obtain real estate property of

someone else by using it for a certain

amount of time so a common example will

be someone built a fence and it's two feet

over the property line but they maintain

the fence for over 20 years they may

have adversely possessed their

neighbor's property now the statutory

requirement is 20 years of open and

notorious use meaning the neighbor knew

about the fence and they didn't tell you

to move it if you were the one who built

it and you maintain it for 20 years

you may have an adverse possession claim

on that extra 2 feet there's a shorter

period of 10 years under color of title

meaning adverse possession with a

document stating that you had that title

the more commonly thought of one is

adverse possession where you're mowing

someone's part of their lot or building

the fence or using it in some way open

and notoriously

and then you adverse possess their

property after a period of time the

color of title has to do with a

situation where you may have a deed

granting you title but it was incorrect

the law uses adverse possession because

it want owners to maintain the

boundaries of their property meaning

it's sort of like if you don't use it

you lose it over time which is kind of

scary but the idea is that you defend

your property and if it is your property

you say the neighbor hey that's my

property move your fence over time the

law wants to recognize who is really

using and owning the property now there

is a way under Wisconsin statute to get

a declaratory judgment action so let's

say you have a dispute with the neighbor

and you think they are using your

property and they don't you can go to

court and ask the court to declare the

rights of the

parties based on the survey map and

other evidence so if you think someone

is adversely possessing your property I

recommend looking into this with the

help of a qualified lawyer to establish

those rights before that twenty year or

ten-year period if applicable runs and

you're out of options so that is a brief

overview of adverse possession in


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Transcript and captions provided for ease of access for the hearing impaired.

For questions about this topic, or to suggest a topic for a future blog post, please contact my office.

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